Dave asks:

Hi Oscar,

This is great and compliments your Multiple Criteria and Multiple Matches series of posts very well. However I have been trying to modify the array formulas in the 3rd and 4th posts of that series to cope with wildcard searches or part cell matches and thought this post may help but not so far unfortunately.

I have tried numerous approaches but can't seem to get a multiple criteria series of "searches" (or counts) to work with anything but exact data.

I'm trying to search for part of a serial number e.g.(A110 within a string A110E12694369020 as one of my search inputs. In this case it is always the first 4 digits but I'd like to be able to input just A1 or *A1* into a search cell and not rely on reviewing the first 4 characters as this is not always the result for these serial numbers.

I'm also looking for items with corresponding dates equal or before a certain due date search string - your 4th post to Lookup-with-multiple-criteria-and-display-multiple-search-results-using-excel-formula-part-4-john helped me resolve this criteria though.

Finally I'm trying another 'wildcard' search and to find FSS (or *FSS*) OR the exact inverse of this - so NOT containing FSS (or *FSS*) - and both of these search criteria are proving elusive to me.

All the data I have is in a large table but I'm not sure if I can alter it to be an Excel Table (which might help), as it is in a sheet that is deleted and replaced by an irregular macro from another workbook and this may corrupt a Table setup(?). It can not be a Pivot as the data is in a shared workbook and Pivot Tables do not update when in shared documents - hence the Array solution I am trying to develop. I have successfully named the columns of ranges I need though without loosing them on an update of data.

To summarise - I'd like to search by some form of wildcard; *app* to return a positive result for "apple" and to search for the opposite; have a criteria that would exclude "apple" using soemthing like *app*

Although I have around 80 columns I'm just looking to return the serial number in say Column A based on these multiple criteria; Col B <= a date, Col C does NOT contain a wildcard string *whatever*, Col D DOES contain a different wildcard string, Col E EXACTLY equals a third search string etc. I am happy to build up the criteria to more columns beyond this if I can resolve the NOT and the wildcard elements.

I'd really appreciate some further pointers, thanks Oscar!

multiple wildcard lookups and include or exclude criteria

Array formula in cell B9:

=IFERROR(IF(COUNTA($B$5:$E$5)<>0, INDEX(Sheet2!$A$2:$D$21, SMALL(IF(COUNTA($B$5:$E$5)=((IF($B$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)))))*($B$5<>"")+(IF($C$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)))))*($C$5<>"")+(IF($D$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)))))*($D$5<>"")+(IF($E$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)))))*($E$5<>"")), MATCH(ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21), ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), ""), ROW(A1)), COLUMN(A1)), ""), "")

How to enter an array formula

  1. Copy above array formula
  2. Select cell B9
  3. Paste array formula
  4. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift
  5. Press Enter

How to copy array formula

  1. Select cell B9
  2. Copy cell B9 (Ctrl + c)
  3. Paste to cell range C9:E9
  4. Copy cell range B9:E9
  5. Paste to cell range B10:E20

Explaining the array formula in cell B9

Step 1 - Search for a text string

SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)

Step 2 - Check if it is a number

ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21))

Step 3 - Check if cell B4 is "Include" or Exclude"

IF($B$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21))))

Step 4 - Add all arrays

((IF($B$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)))))*($B$5<>"")+(IF($C$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)))))*($C$5<>"")+(IF($D$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)))))*($D$5<>"")+(IF($E$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)))))*($E$5<>"")

Step 5 - Check if the number of criteria matches the array, if it does return the corresponding row number

IF(COUNTA($B$5:$E$5)=((IF($B$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)))))*($B$5<>"")+(IF($C$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)))))*($C$5<>"")+(IF($D$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)))))*($D$5<>"")+(IF($E$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)))))*($E$5<>"")), MATCH(ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21), ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), "")

Step 6 - Find k-th smallest row number

SMALL(IF(COUNTA($B$5:$E$5)=((IF($B$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)))))*($B$5<>"")+(IF($C$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)))))*($C$5<>"")+(IF($D$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)))))*($D$5<>"")+(IF($E$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)))))*($E$5<>"")), MATCH(ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21), ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), ""), ROW(A1))

Step 7 - Return value from table

INDEX(Sheet2!$A$2:$D$21, SMALL(IF(COUNTA($B$5:$E$5)=((IF($B$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($B$5, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$21)))))*($B$5<>"")+(IF($C$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($C$5, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$21)))))*($C$5<>"")+(IF($D$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5, Sheet2!$C$2:$C$21)))))*($D$5<>"")+(IF($E$4="Include", ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), NOT(ISNUMBER(SEARCH($E$5, Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)))))*($E$5<>"")), MATCH(ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21), ROW(Sheet2!$D$2:$D$21)), ""), ROW(A1)), COLUMN(A1))

Download excel *.xlsx file

Lookup and include or exclude criteria.xlsx

Last Chance to get 20% off Excel Dashboard Course

Last week I told you about the fantastic dashboard course that Mynda has put together over at My Online Training Hub.  I just wanted to remind you that the 20% early bird discount ends Thursday 24th October, 8pm in Los Angeles to be exact.

And don’t forget, if you enroll in Mynda's dashboard course I will be happy to give you the Merge Ranges Addin. Just email me your receipt from Mynda's course to claim your bonus.

Disclosure: I make a small commission for students who join Mynda’s course.